web stats

CSBG Archive

She Has No Head! – The Comics Project!

Hey kids.  So, She Has No Head! is back, and back with a bang if I do say so myself (which, apparently, I do).

Back when news of the “New DCU 52″ dropped so many moons ago (or, y’know, June) I wrote a post about my initial reactions to Flashpoint and the proposed “New DCU 52″.  It was not a positive post.  But I ended it by suggesting that in an attempt to see the line from a fresh “new-reader perspective”, which is what it seemed DC was going for, not to mention from a more positive, less cynical place, that I would do something called “The Comics Project” which would be similar to The Ladies Comics Project before it and would have lapsed and new comics readers reading the new DC 52 and reporting back.  And so here we are:

The Comics Project illustration by Tara Abbamondi

The concept is pretty simple, and we’ve all seen versions of it through the internet over the last couple weeks (CBR and Comics Alliance have particularly good takes on the idea).  What I did was solicit 47 friends, family, and colleagues (23 women and 24 men) asking if anyone had interest in reading a brand new #1 issue from DC in the month of September and filling out a survey.  In order to be eligible they had to either:

A) Have a vague interest in comics and be curious what all of this “New DC 52″ might be about.

B) Have a more than vague interest in comics and be curious what all this “New DC 52″ might be about.

or C) Be someone that used to read comics or reads sporadically but has mostly fallen away from mainstream comics and saw this at a good moment to get back involved with mainstream comics.

I immediately got 20 responses, and I ended up with 22 participants in total (10 women and 12 men).

Mostly this group is in their 30’s, with a few over 40, and a few in their 20’s.  Obviously by including women (gasp!) and people over the age of 34 (double gasp!) I did not end up with a pool solidly reflecting “DC’s preferred demographic” but I will say that there were plenty of other potential participants in those 47 people that I emailed, that ARE within DC’s “preferred demographic” and yet these are the people that responded.  Take that as you will.

Like the “Ladies Comics Project” before it, I emailed everyone on the list a file with all the cover art and titles for them to select what they wanted to read.  A book was only allowed to be chosen once.  Unlike the other projects before this one, I also included a PDF of the official solicits of each book, in case people wanted to use more than cover art and title to gauge their picks.  I then constructed a questionnaire and after buying the book and reading it myself, I mailed off the book and sent them the questionnaire with instructions to return the questionnaire via email within a week of receiving the book.

These are the responses from group one, which read books that released on September 7th, 2011.  I hope you enjoy, I know I have!

As always with reviews, beware of SPOILERS.

.

NAME: Scott Thompson

BOOK: Animal Man #1

AGE: 31

LOCATION: Salt Lake City, UT

OCCUPATION: Project Manager for a Software Company.  Occasional sub-par actor.

PREVIOUS EXPOSURE TO COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS, IF ANY? I collected at least ten titles with my sis for several years in my youth from about 12 until I went to college.  These were mostly X-titles, but the number increased dramatically when image launched with all their silly new titles.  I gave up in college when the finances and time just didn’t come as easily any more.  I never jumped back on the full collector bandwagon.  But I do currently read The Walking Dead, and Kel recommends things to me here and there that I check out, like the now not-so-recent Whedon Astonishing X-Men run and Scott Pilgrim.

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DC RELAUNCH PRIOR TO BEING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? No.

IF YOU DID KNOW ABOUT IT, HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT IT AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT? Didn’t know about it until I was approached to be in the project.  I think my first response when I was given the briefing was a general, “Why?”  My second response was a little more volatile, revolving around the idea that this medium can’t possibly hope to gain respect in the world if they don’t even respect themselves enough not to do crazy shit like this to their characters.

WERE YOU PLANNING TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS PRIOR TO BECOMING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? Not likely.

AFTER PARTICIPATING IN THIS PROJECT DO YOU NOW PLAN TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?  PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE. Not likely.  Most of my previous experience was in the Marvelverse.  An opportunity to start from scratch with some of these books is intriguing, to get to know these “old” characters from “the beginning” perhaps.  But after reading Animal Man, I think I’m more confused with the general concept of this DC relaunch.  It seems like they kept all his history and just started the book over at #1.  I don’t know the details of his history though from before, so maybe they just changed a bunch of it?  I don’t know, I’m confused.

WHY DID YOU PICK THE BOOK YOU PICKED? I had never heard of Animal Man, but I liked the concept from what I understood of it.  The cover drew me in.  I’m interested in genetics and evolution and the cover led me to believe that there was some sort of science behind how this guy’s powers worked.  The first issue didn’t really confirm or deny that suspicion for me.

WERE THERE OTHER BOOKS YOU WANTED TO CHOOSE INSTEAD?  IF SO, WHY? I thought about going for a Bat title, as I have always loved the feel of Batman, the story behind it, and the flaws of the man inside.  Batman is one of my favorite comic characters, even though I’ve never collected Bat books.  That is an interesting statement in and of itself.  Nevertheless, I wanted to try something new, and as stated above, the concept of Animal Man drew me in, even if the story did not.

DID YOU LIKE THE BOOK? IF SO, WHY; IF NOT, WHY NOT? Meh.  I wanted to like it.  But when I got inside, I thought the story was kind of trite and overdone.  I mean, an emotionally troubled guy holding kids hostage in a hospital?  It just seemed like the kind of simple staged event to introduce readers to the basics of this guys power.  It could have been better.  Add to that, the fact that they didn’t really explain at all how the power really worked, and I was left wanting.  The second half of the book got really weird…I mean, even weird for comic books weird.  He dreams a dream where he’s walking around with his daughter, the rest of his family is dead, and then he gets this lame warning from these Hunter characters that looked like grown up versions of something you’d see in Labyrinth.  I wasn’t impressed with the villains.  There was an interview with the creators at the back of the book that I read that intimated that these Hunter jokers were going to be the main villains that he faced, and them going on and on about how cool the panel was with the reveal of these guys.  Sorry, I wasn’t impressed.  And with the knowledge that they are going to be the main villains going forward, I think I’ll pass on picking up the book again.   The book ends with a really creepy scene of Animal Man’s daughter playing with a menagerie dead and withering animal carcasses.  But I felt like was for pure shock value…the kind of thing where they put this thing in the book only to get you to pick up the next one, then explain it away as some random occurrence.  There were some good things.  The stuff with the family was interesting.  You don’t see it every day, where a superhero has a (seemingly) functional family unit that supports and encourages his activities.  That was the strength of the book.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? Hmm..I think I blew my load above.  The family interaction bits were the strength.  It wasn’t lip service.  I get the impression that the family will be a big part of this book going forward and as a driving force in Animal Man’s character.

WHAT WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? The lame dream-reveal sequence.  I didn’t get it at all.

IS THE BOOK NEW READER FRIENDLY – I.E. IN YOUR OPINION DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A NEW READER? I guess.  Depends on how forgiving they are about not understanding the foundation of the guy’s powers.  Maybe it would be clear to others, but it wasn’t clear to me.

DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A LAPSED READER THAT WANTS TO RETURN?  Yeah, probably.  They’ve got the basics of the guy already.  So, they won’t need the first half that’s setting up a lot of the foundation.  But I think when they get to the second half/dream sequence, they might just be bored…I was.

DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF LOST, I.E. COULD YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHO THE CHARACTERS WERE, AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WHY? At one point, in the dream sequence Animal Man turns into a walking, talking (breathing?) group of what look like arteries.  There was a river of blood, and all of a sudden he was this weird arterial creature…I didn’t get it…at all.

DID IT INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, IF SO WHY? Nah.  If I got the burn for a comic, I’d go get some X-title that looked interesting.  I’d probably be massively disappointed again in that as well and give up on comics for another decade.  The idea of a relaunch is something that should intrigue a person like me.  I like the medium, I like fantasy and hero-y stuff, I have a history of being a comic book nerd.  But this didn’t do much for me, maybe because it wasn’t ACTUALLY a fresh start like I was expecting.  Maybe I was a victim of higher than could be met expectations?

DID THIS BOOK INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO TRY OUT OTHER TITLES?  IF SO, PLEASE ELABORATE (AND LIST TITLES IF YOU CAN). I’m a little intrigued to try out another title.  Just to see if the relaunch is handled differently elsewhere.  But frankly, I only get so much time in a month to do stuff like reading comics.  I think I’ll spend it reading GRRM or some other fantasy fare instead.

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF INTERESTED IN OTHER TITLES, WILL YOU ACTUALLY BUY THESE ISSUES WHEN THEY RELEASE IN THE COMING WEEKS? Not likely.

IF YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULD NOT BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, WOULD YOU CONSIDER BUYING THE NEXT ISSUE IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD GET IT DIGITALLY (TO BE READ ON AN iPAD OR SIMILAR) FOR A LOWER PRICE? Maybe.  It would be a matter of convenience and boredom more than anything.  If I happen to be stuck somewhere without much to do, and I happen to think about it, then I might do that.  But I probably wouldn’t go with Animal Man.  I’d go back to the X-titles to see if they suck.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS/CRITIQUE/PRAISE/CRITICISMS:  I just re-read my responses and they sound so negative that it made me feel a little bad.  I’m glad I got to be a part of the process and I’m thankful that I got to be temporarily pulled into a world that I used to love so much.  But the book just didn’t light a fire for me.  I guess I could have just said it like that instead of all the colorful anger…but if you read Kel’s blog, you know that Thompsons just aren’t made that way.
.

NAME: Andrew Seles

LINK(S): www.andrewseles.com

BOOK: Swamp Thing #1

AGE: 33

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

OCCUPATION: Art Director & User Experience Consultant

PREVIOUS EXPOSURE TO COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS, IF ANY? I read a bunch of Batman in the late 80s and early 90s, in the wake of Michael Keaton-Tim Burton Batmania. During the first half of the 90s I was an avid reader some of the Vertigo imprint titles: The Sandman, Hellblazer and Shade, The Changing Man. I’ve only picked up the occasional book since then.

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DC RELAUNCH PRIOR TO BEING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? Yes, but barely.

IF YOU DID KNOW ABOUT IT, HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT IT AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT? I happened to hear a story about it on NPR while driving around on some errands. It definitely caught my interest, especially because when I was growing up I was more of a DC kid. In the interview, they discussed the emphasis on revitalizing story lines; it would take more than gimmicky costume changes and issue number reset to increase long-term sales*. Still, I was a bit skeptical. I was an illustration major in college and a lot of the cartoony digitally drawn artwork I’ve seen while leafing through modern monthlies just doesn’t speak to me the same way as the traditionally and maturely penciled and inked books of my youth**.  And as a friend pointed out, why on earth would you reset Action Comics (#904) and Detective Comics (#881) when you’re so close to issue #1000? I still don’t understand that one.

*They talked about how Aquaman and his hard-to-sell, orange and green duds needed some love, which I thought was pretty funny. What’s wrong with orange and green? I always thought the concept of submarine superheroes was cool, but I’d never bothered to pick up any Aquaman. Namor always seemed cooler because he was more of a jerk antihero and didn’t have that 50’s clean-cut blond hair. Anyway, when I read more about the relaunch, Aquaman seemed like one of the more interesting story lines. I mentioned this to my comic-fiend friend, to which he replied, “Aquaman sucks!”

**But then, I excel at making sweeping judgments based on a limited sample size.

WERE YOU PLANNING TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS PRIOR TO BECOMING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? Probably not. I have a bookshelf half-full of omnibuses that I’ve picked up in the last year and I’ve only read two of them. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach when it comes to consuming books.

AFTER PARTICIPATING IN THIS PROJECT DO YOU NOW PLAN TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?  PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE. After reading the details of all the titles, my eyes started grumbling again. Two days ago, I went to the local comics shop and reserved copies of a bunch:  Aquaman, Batman, Batman: Dark Knight, Demon Knights, Detective Comics, Justice League: Dark, Resurrection Man (My wife is reading this one for The Comics Project. I’ll snag it out of her hands as soon as she’s done — if not before.), and Wonder Woman

WHY DID YOU PICK THE BOOK YOU PICKED? I can’t say it was my first choice — but if it wasn’t #1a or #1b, it was #1c. I’ve never read any Swamp Thing before. The Alan Moore era has been on my to-do list for awhile. My exposure has been limited to Swamp Thing’s appearances in Hellblazer and a few random minutes of the Wes Craven film while channel surfing. I don’t know much about Swamp Thing, but he’s obviously such a unique character in terms of his appearance and abilities. His name alone always elicited associations of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, so there’s a classic horror aura around him. But between Alan Moore and Hellblazer, I know there’s more to it than that. Anyway, I’ve always been drawn to darker or surreal characters and stories.

WERE THERE OTHER BOOKS YOU WANTED TO CHOOSE INSTEAD?  IF SO, WHY? I think my first choice was Justice League: Dark. While I’m a fan of odd-couple reluctant partnerships between to characters, I usually stay away from titles with teams of three or more. There’s usually just too many characters to focus in on and I miss the angst and dysfunctional details of the loner protagonists I love. That being said, how could I resist a title that brings together two of my most beloved personalities from Vertigo’s heyday? Shade and John Constantine are probably my favorite characters of all time not named Batman.  My second choice was Aquaman. Maybe I was just answering the call to “give Aquaman some love” — but the new story sounded pretty sweet to me:

“Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them.”

A broken race?! Unspeakable need?! The Trench sound pretty scary. Besides, have you seen the stuff that lives in the real-life forgotten corners of the ocean?

Also, I love anything that incorporates or expands upon old mythology, folklore and legend like Atlantis.

DID YOU LIKE THE BOOK? IF SO, WHY; IF NOT, WHY NOT? I had mixed feelings about it. I was really pleased with the artwork; I believe I’ve taken my first step to overcoming my aversion to more digitally illustrated comic art. Everything was really well drawn and there were some great panel layouts. The writing seemed fine in terms of dialogue (and it was pretty much exclusively dialogue), but I had some issues with how the story unfolded with one particularly big, swampy gripe.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? It was definitely the artwork and events on the panels and spreads illustrating the newly forming, villainous threat. You don’t really get a clear look at the giant silhouetted bipedal beast; you just know it came into being from the feathers, fur and bones surrounding a Mastodon fossil dig. It never actually strikes anyone either. Instead the flies that surround it enter the ears of its human victims and their heads twist around 180 degrees. That doesn’t kill them, mind you. Instead, they seem to be zombified and enslaved by the creature.  So yeah, that was pretty awesome. The pages and panels that depict this part of the story are really well done. It’s a disturbing and chaotic nighttime scene, executed with gruesome action; it’s straight-up horror.

WHAT WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? Swamp Thing doesn’t actually appear until the last panel of the whole book. Look, I understand this is a relaunch and there’s going to be some time spent setting up the character and his current predicament. But, I know what title I have in my hands. It’s Swamp Thing. I don’t think there’s a whole lot to be gained by a big reveal at the end. Instead of anticipation, a mild annoyance was building of, “C’mon, when do I get me some Swamp Thing?” It left me wondering what the title character might do or say were he actually in the story. Most of our time is spent with the alter-ego which isn’t really what we’re here for. At least I now know that if I ever leave the book upside down on the coffee table, I can either flip it over OR turn to the last page to find out what it is.

IS THE BOOK NEW READER FRIENDLY – I.E. IN YOUR OPINION DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A NEW READER? I had some issues with references to backstory (more on that later), but I was able to follow the general narrative. I finished the book with a mixed reaction — while I liked the general tone and story I still want to know what Swamp Thing the character is all about. I was disappointed I didn’t get a real taste for it in this first book. This may work for new readers in the sense that they’ll come back for more, but my patience will be short if subsequent issues don’t quickly deliver.

DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF LOST, I.E. COULD YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHO THE CHARACTERS WERE, AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WHY? There were a lot of references to the main character’s (Dr. Holland) previous incarnation as Swamp Thing. Apparently he died or something. I couldn’t really follow. I don’t know if this was a nod to the existing readership or if more will be revealed in time, but it left me a bit lost. Probably not a great thing for a re-launch. Then again, it didn’t seem like the good doctor really knew either. If rediscovering his own past plays into it, I could be on board — although that’s not the most novel premise.

DID IT INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, IF SO WHY? The monstrous threat at hand did. My desire to see Swamp Thing in action did. The fact that I didn’t get any of the latter in this issue did not.

IF SO, WILL YOU BUY THE NEXT ISSUE WHEN IT RELEASES NEXT MONTH? Yes.

DID THIS BOOK INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO TRY OUT OTHER TITLES? I’m already going to check out the titles I listed previously — but I signed up for those before I even read this. I don’t hold any one title responsible for others. While I’m sure there is an overall creative direction, I’m betting the success of each title depends on its unique appeal and the individual creative teams that produce each book. I’d say more than this particular book, the entire DC relaunch has gotten me interested in comics again. We’ll see if it lasts.

.

NAME: ‘Doubting Thomas’

BOOK: Stormwatch #1

AGE: 48

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

OCCUPATION: Architectural Designer

PREVIOUS EXPOSURE TO COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS, IF ANY? None, but experience with superheroes and comic concepts in movies.

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DC RELAUNCH PRIOR TO BEING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? Yes.

IF YOU DID KNOW ABOUT IT, HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT IT AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT? I heard a piece on NPR about it. I also saw an ad on the cable station BBC/America. The NPR segment described the re-launch and how it would work. It was intriguing to me that the stories can restart. They said people were going to protest because the stories might change a bit and be modernized, but as I never read them before, that would not bother me.

WERE YOU PLANNING TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS PRIOR TO BECOMING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT?  PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE. I considered it because I found the concept of a restart intriguing, but I probably would never have bought a book had it not been for this project.

AFTER PARTICIPATING IN THIS PROJECT DO YOU NOW PLAN TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?  PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE. Probably not, but I can’t say never. I would definitely not continue with the same book.

WHY DID YOU PICK THE BOOK YOU PICKED? Because Kelly suggested it; after my first choices were taken. Knowing none of the stories and few of the characters, it was impossible to choose based on content. And cover art and book titles are not much to go on. Some titles were familiar, but several I’d never heard of.

WERE THERE OTHER BOOKS YOU WANTED TO CHOOSE INSTEAD? IF SO, WHY? Yes, but based only on titles and cover art.

DID YOU LIKE THE BOOK? IF SO, WHY; IF NOT, WHY NOT? Didn’t love it. I found it confusing. There seemed to be lots of assumptions that I would be familiar with the characters and storylines. Since it was #1, I would have hoped that the book would have lots of introductions to the characters and plots. I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story.  The book also jumped around too much, from one scene or location to the next, from one character to another, with no apparent relationship between them. In the end, some were tied together, but again, as a #1, it was too confusing. Maybe I expect like in a good movie that the characters are developed early on so I can identify them and understand their relationships to each other.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? I do like space-based science fiction, and this had some of it. But I was so confused that I couldn’t enjoy that.  Some of the art was interesting and ethereal – beautiful imagery; most of those scenes were not about the characters and more about the locations.

WHAT WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? I hated the ads. The page frame and background of the ads were the same as the story pages. Sometimes I would move to the ad like it was the next page.  Of course, this would throw off my whole rhythm which made me lose interest mid-stream. The page borders should be a different color or use other fonts and illustration types. Maybe this is normal, but for someone who has never read a comic book, it makes no sense.

IS THE BOOK NEW READER FRIENDLY – I.E. IN YOUR OPINION DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A NEW READER? No. See above.

DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF LOST, I.E. COULD YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHO THE CHARACTERS WERE, AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WHY? Constantly lost. See above.

DID IT INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, IF SO WHY? No. At most I would try another book.

IF IT DID NOT INTRIGUE YOU, CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY NOT? Too confusing.

DID THIS BOOK INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO TRY OUT OTHER TITLES? Maybe, but unlikely. I’d need a good sales pitch. Maybe I need something with more humor.

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF INTERESTED IN OTHER TITLES, WILL YOU ACTUALLY BUY THESE ISSUES WHEN THEY RELEASE IN THE COMING WEEKS? Doubtful.

IF YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULD NOT BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, WOULD YOU CONSIDER BUYING THE NEXT ISSUE IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD GET IT DIGITALLY (TO BE READ ON AN iPAD OR SIMILAR) FOR A LOWER PRICE? No. Maybe another title.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS/CRITIQUE/PRAISE/CRITICISMS: I’m dying to know if I got a bad one, or if they are all like this and I’m just not a comic book person. I love most of the movie versions, but maybe that’s because there are no ads!

.

NAME: Adam Greene

BOOK: O. M. A. C. #1

AGE: 34

LOCATION: New York, NY

OCCUPATION: Art Department Coordinator for film and television

PREVIOUS EXPOSURE TO COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS, IF ANY? I have “collected” comics since I was 9 years old.  I went to school to be a cartoonist, and still read comics semi-regularly. 

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DC RELAUNCH PRIOR TO BEING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? Yes

IF YOU DID KNOW ABOUT IT, HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT IT AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT? Besides reading about it online, I was also given an article from the New York Times by my boss.  My initial reaction was that it played like a stunt, but gradually my opinion changed after reading what some of the players were saying about the relaunch.  Now, however, I am back to believing it’s a stunt.

WERE YOU PLANNING TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS PRIOR TO BECOMING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT?  PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE. Yes, I wanted to read O. M. A. C., Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Mr. Terrific, and DC Universe Presents.  I may not have bought all of these, but I was interested in reading them.

AFTER PARTICIPATING IN THIS PROJECT DO YOU NOW PLAN TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?  PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE. I will give each of these books at least one issue.  If I’m blown away they could become a regular read.  I am 99.9% sure I will not last past five issues, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.

WHY DID YOU PICK THE BOOK YOU PICKED? I have always been someone who will give Keith Giffen a shot (Book of Fate, Heckler, Trencher, etc…).  This hasn’t been true of every book he has been involved with, but I find him entertaining as a writer and as an artist if the material has some room for comedy.

WERE THERE OTHER BOOKS YOU WANTED TO CHOOSE INSTEAD?  IF SO, WHY? In hindsight I should have picked Animal Man.  I would have read Animal Man regardless of circumstances.

DID YOU LIKE THE BOOK? IF SO, WHY; IF NOT, WHY NOT? In the end, I did not like the book.  It failed to grab me, in spite of a premise that intrigues me.  While I enjoyed the artwork, Giffen doing his Kirby pastiche (homage?) was fun, but it was not enough to make me overlook the elements I did not like.  The dialogue, and the story in this issue as a whole were a throwback to an era of comic writing that should remain in the back issue bins.  I also did not like the O. M. A. C. character design.  The idea of going for a massive, Hulk-like figure is a solid one, but the weird mohawk served only as a distraction and served to enhance an aspect of modern coloring that I hate (that issue is too complicated to explain in the context of this project).  This book was also unfairly saddled with my expectations, as none of the humor I was hoping to find in a book co-written by Giffen (with THAT art) was present.  The book read more like a corny comic from the 70’s, and if that was the intent then my expectations ruined whatever enjoyment would have come from said corny comic style. 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? While I liked the art, my favorite aspect overall was the premise.

WHAT WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? My least favorite thing was the character design on OMAC.  Change only that and this book might have had a chance to succeed. 

IS THE BOOK NEW READER FRIENDLY – I.E. IN YOUR OPINION DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A NEW READER? Yes. The book isn’t bogged down in continuity.  It drops the reader in the middle of a lab, we get a glance at some of our characters, then – WHAM – the action starts and continues until the last few pages, where the rest of the series is set up.  You don’t need to know anything that isn’t being told to you in the story.  In fact, the only character I recognized is Dubbilex, who introduces himself in a clunky bit of exposition.  The book would be perfect for new readers if it was a better book. 

DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A LAPSED READER THAT WANTS TO RETURN? Assuming you mean a lapsed reader of superhero comics, I do think book works.  It is heavy on action, which most superhero comic fans enjoy, features an interesting sci-fi premise, and ends with an effective hook.

DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF LOST, I.E. COULD YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHO THE CHARACTERS WERE, AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WHY? I was never lost. 

DID IT INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO BUY THE NEXT ISSUE? The book wasn’t good enough to get me to buy another issue.

DID THIS BOOK INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO TRY OUT OTHER TITLES? This book did not make me want to buy any titles that I wasn’t already interested in.

IF YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULD NOT BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, WOULD YOU CONSIDER BUYING THE NEXT ISSUE IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD GET IT DIGITALLY (TO BE READ ON AN iPAD OR SIMILAR) FOR A LOWER PRICE? No.

.

And that’s it for Part One!

So…am I surprised by these responses?  Having read a good chunk of the “New DCU 52″ so far, in a word, No.

In more words?  Though I have enjoyed some of the issues, and some of them unexpectedly (Animal Man #1 came out of nowhere for me) I don’t find most of what I have read remotely new reader friendly.  Worse, I would say that of these four gents, three of them have significant comics experience behind them and that that should have HELPED them and made these comics less confusing, but it doesn’t seem to have done much good.  It makes me nervous for the rest of the experiment, which for the most part, has reviewers with far less comics reading experience.  That said, I still think this is a fascinating look into why comics do and don’t work for people inexperienced with the medium and to a degree, the genre.  I can’t wait to see the rest of the responses, and I hope you’ll all come back for more.  As fans so entrenched in this thing we love, it’s interesting and I think illuminating to see how others view it, and what kind of problems they have with it. For example, I hear a lot of complaints here as I did in the Ladies Comics Project about hating the ads, and while I’m certainly not a fan of ads, I don’t know about you, but I stopped noticing them roughly 20 years ago.

Thanks to Scott, Andrew, Tom, and Adam for participating, and to Tara Abbamondi for the “The Comics Project” illustration.

Make sure to come back next week for reviews of Batwoman #1, Deathstroke #1, Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1, Green Lantern #1, Grifter #1, Mister Terrific #1, Resurrection Man #1, and Suicide Squad #1.

Don’t forget to read Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

29 Comments

[…] She Has No Head! is back kids!  And back with a vengeance!  Or you know, just regular geance.  Which is not a word, I’m aware. […]

Interesting. I haven’t read any of these books, so I don’t know what they’re like… but I did expect the content to be really accessible. That’s why I’m so surprised to see these reviews!

Granted, I think these particular four books are on the fringes of pop culture awareness and (I’d assume) were made to cater to lapsed and/or discouraged Direct Market regulars as opposed to books like Justice League, which were obviously made and marketed with a larger audience in mind.

It would be interesting to see which books got the most requests from the participants, since they are only able to read one and everyone has to read a different book for the experiment. Which books are likely to sell better based on the cover, basically (even though you did send along a solicit to read too)?

I’ve only read Frankensein and Demon Knights and both seemed fairly reader friendly to me…but I do have basic knowledge of many of the characters in the old DC/Vertigo/Wildstorm universes…so take that with a grain of salt I guess.

This worries me. I haven’t read any of the new titles myself yet — though I looked through a couple at the store — but when the New 52 thing was first announced, my initial reaction was that relaunching the entire universe from scratch was a great idea but only if they actually relaunched it from scratch. What i feared, based on the comments from the people at DC, was that they were going to try and have their cake and eat it too by keeping as much of the previous universe as possible in order to appeal to current fans while making cosmetic changes (like numbering) to supposedly appeal to new readers.

Unfortunately, it seems from everything I have read so far that this is exactly what they did. It seems like instead of dumping the old continuity that was too confusing for new readers and starting with a clean slate, they just created a whole new continuity, with the only difference being that even old readers no longer know what’s happening either, so everyone is equally confused. I’ve already been reading attempts by readers to put together timelines of when boks happen — like, Justice League is 5 years ago and Action #1 is 5 years and 8 months ago or something — and they haven’t even finished putting out all the first issues yet! When you have continuity confusion before the comics are even published, that smacks of epic fail to me.

Hopefully the rest of the reviews you have gathered were more positive in regards to this being an actual relaunch that new readers can get into, but so far it sounds like a giant mess.

Excellent stuff, as usual.

This doesn’t fill me with a great deal of hope. It just seems so half-assed in execution. “Let’s start over but not really” isn’t what will help the medium.

As always, Comics Project was an interesting read. Scott’s reaction to Animal Man is interesting in how it shows that a generally considered good comic (I really liked it as well) just isn’t going to work for everyone. I loved the dream sequence, my favourite part of the comic wheras Scott had a quite virulent reaction against it. Kind of shows that if it’s difficult for experienced comics readers to tell whether they’ll like a book based off covers and solicits, it’s that much harder for inexperienced readers. Based off his answers, it sounds like a comic like Demon Knights or one of the Bat titles would be more up his alley.

Swamp Thing is an interesting case in that, whilst it was one of my favourites I’m a huge Swamp Thing fan but like is brought up in Andrew’s reaction I don’t know if it was the best possible introduction to Swampy for a new reader. Even I’m a bit iffy on how the Brightest Day resurrection of Alec Holland plays into things. The origin of the Swamp Thing is in the issue, though since it’s a dream sequence as well I could see it being confusing to new readers. Glad to see that the neck snapping transcends new reader boundaries, such a lovely creepy scene.

It seems like for many of these less-mainstream titles, new readers have trouble getting a firm understanding of the characters. I wonder if in the case of say Stormwatch, X-Menesque name, codename and power captions when a character first appears would be helpful. DC have always resisted doing the front page recap and series logline that Marvel normally does, but I think doing something similar may have helped make DC books more accessible. I’ll be interested to see what the reaction will be to any of the big name superhero books featured will be (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern) and whether that cultural familiarity with the characters will be easier for the new readers to jump into.

On the subject of ads, I tend to gloss over them. Certainly some of my casual comic reader friends have mentioned that the ads are annoying. I did notice with the digital versions I’ve downloaded that they have no ads inside the story.

@Another Ian

I too find what people choose and why, especially based on covers, fascinating.

These stats are not great because not everyone picked the same number of alternates, i.e. some people picked one or two, while others picked as many as five. And still others didn’t pick any alternates because they got their first choice book. All that said, here’s what I can tell you and I find it very interesting…especially considering the fact that nobody picked Superman…first, last, or anything…

Voodoo had the most requests at 5 and 3 of those were first choice requests.

Mr. Terrific had 3 requests, but all of them were first choice requests, making it the leader in first choice requests.

Batwoman, Justice League: Dark, and Animal Man each had 3 requests, and each had 2 first choice requests.

Aquaman and Swamp Thing both had 3 requests, and each had 1 first choice request.

Resurrection Man and All-Star Western both had 2 requests and each had 1 first choice request.

Suicide Squad, Demon Knights, and Grifter all had 2 requests and 0 first choice requests.

4 books – I, Vampire, Nightwing, Deathstroke, and Green Lantern – had only 1 request, but they were all first choice requests.

11 books – Batman & Robin, Detective Comics, Batgirl, Men of War, Red Hood & The Outlaws, Blackhawks, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, Catwoman, and Teen Titans – had only 1 request and no first choice requests.

Additionally I couldn’t accurately quantify Batman, Stormwatch, or The Flash, as they were recommended to the participant by me at the participant’s request and based on some basic criteria they gave me.

It blows my mind that Voodoo gets five requests when really neither Batman or Superman got any. But I think it goes to the cover. If you look at Voodoo…it’s very accessible…a non-threatening close up of a beautiful woman, but with some “what’s going on here weirdness” (a demon-y hand). I can see why that’s intriguing to people that don’t already have a vested interest in certain characters.

PREVIOUS EXPOSURE TO COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS, IF ANY?
My first comic book was the Death of Superman. I followed that into the Batman titles, then into Image Comics. In college I scaled back my purchases and eventually just stopped, but my brother continued giving me issues of Savage Dragon so even though I never went to a store and stopped buying comics I never left the medium fully.

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DC RELAUNCH PRIOR TO BEING INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT?
Yes. I am the ideal customer for the relaunch. I never cared for Marvel stuff, but I like the idea of reading DC comics I just never made the effort to get out there and track down a book or two.

IF YOU DID KNOW ABOUT IT, HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT IT AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT?
I heard about it through the internet. I tracked down some titles and got excited for it by talking to a co-worker that I discovered also liked comics though he had stopped purchasing them too. I thought it was atrocious to abandon Action Comics and Detective, particularly as I realized that there wasn’t a full commitment to rebooting or relaunching. If all the titles aren’t going to start at ground level, then why restart all of them? DC is hung up on the number 52. I would’ve preferred a DC “Ultimates” line for the major characters and a relaunch of some of the other properties (Teen Titans, Stormwatch, et cetera). Regardless of my complaints, I was excited for it.

WERE YOU PLANNING TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS? PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE.
I was a definite to purchase Superboy and I thought I’d try Teen Titans as well. But my excitement caused me to earmark my birthday money to purchase a slew of the #1s so I thought I’d buy: Action Comics, Stormwatch, Grifter, Resurrection Man and one or two others.

DO YOU NOW PLAN TO READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS? PLEASE LIST BOOKS IF POSSIBLE.
DC offered a subscription plan of buy four and get five and since I’d read and liked Superboy and Action Comics I ordered those two and went ahead and added Teen Titans and Red Hood (since they’re written by the same writer as Superboy) and as a fifth I chose Wonder Woman since I read a couple of interviews with the creator that got me hooked. I would’ve subscribed to Stormwatch had that been offered, but I’ll just get my local shop to slip it (and maybe a few others) into my brother’s pull box.

WHY DID YOU PICK THE BOOK YOU PICKED?
Of the options listed in this post (Animal Man, OMAC, Stormwatch and Swamp Thing) the only one I was interested in was Stormwatch. I picked it because I liked Warren Ellis’s The Authority and this is very much in that vein.

WERE THERE OTHER BOOKS YOU WANTED TO CHOOSE INSTEAD? IF SO, WHY?
Zero interest in OMAC, but I flipped through Swamp Thing and Animal Man at the shop and they didn’t grab me.

DID YOU LIKE THE BOOK? IF SO, WHY; IF NOT, WHY NOT?
I liked it okay. It had some missteps, a failure to introduce the characters in a natural way, setting the stage, but it was drawn well and had MOMENTS, which comics are built upon.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK?
I liked Martian saying “When I want to be a hero I work with the Justice League. When I want to be a Warrior, I’m with Stormwatch”.

WHAT WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK?
The Projectionist and her ridiculous exposition to Martian. She seems imminently expendable to me. Sounds like the Engineer could easily do her job. Also, there was a grammar mistake, which annoyed me.

IS THE BOOK NEW READER FRIENDLY – I.E. IN YOUR OPINION DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A NEW READER?
It definitely tries to accomplish a lot in the first issue. From what I’ve read of the others it is certainly in the top 5 for being reader friendly.

DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF LOST, I.E. COULD YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHO THE CHARACTERS WERE, AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WHY?
I followed, but that doesn’t mean events were invested with meaning.

DID IT INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, IF SO WHY?
Yes, I understand the enormous difficulty in introducing the characters of a team while also including action. I felt the writer walked a fine line between both and certainly hints at great moments ahead.

DID THIS BOOK INTRIGUE YOU ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WANT TO TRY OUT OTHER TITLES?
I tracked down Demon Knights simply because it was written by the same person. I didn’t care for it, but I have been separated from my money more easily than I anticipated.

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF INTERESTED IN OTHER TITLES, WILL YOU ACTUALLY BUY THESE ISSUES WHEN THEY RELEASE IN THE COMING WEEKS?
Buy some and then practice some old-timey “downloading” and read others at the local Books-a-Million.

IF YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULD NOT BUY THE NEXT ISSUE, WOULD YOU CONSIDER BUYING THE NEXT ISSUE IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD GET IT DIGITALLY (TO BE READ ON AN iPAD OR SIMILAR) FOR A LOWER PRICE?
The future of the industry is digital comics. I envision singles going away entirely in print editions, being offered in digital format until a trade paperback is printed. Companies could set a standard for sales that must be hit digitally before a print version is issued. Once a series of singles hits so many downloads a trade is offered. That’s my idea. Of course, even 1.99 is too much for a digital comic. If companies offered 1 dollar downloads for singles and then a bulk discount if more than ten are purchased then I think they’d sale a lot more than offering books for 2.99.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS/CRITIQUE/PRAISE/CRITICISMS:
I’m excited and I’ve bought a lot more than I anticipated. The relaunch has certainly been a success in terms of bringing me back into the fold. All the more so since I have two young boys that are about ready to read comics.

I agree with the two participants who stated that they don’t like the digital artwork. I prefer the coloring of old to the modern digital coloring. But, I don’t expect comic book writers to go back to using typewriters so I expect artists will keep using all the digital tools at their disposal. The best I can hope for is a way to make digital artwork look “retro.”

I’ve tried to get friends who loved superhero movies to read comics, but every single time the comics have failed to appeal to them. I’ve basically given up trying to get my friends to read comics.

As for the relaunch, I don’t think it will significantly change anything about who buys and reads comics. I think comics are way too expensive for the amount of entertainment you get out of them. Video games and movies cost less per hour of entertainment than comics do. I think DC should have tried something like make all the new #1s 99 cents. That would probably break down the mental barriers a lot of people have to trying comics. (They could resume normal pricing for the #2s.) In fact, my first comic book when I was a kid cost 99 cents; it was in a super market (in the 90s) and it was cheap enough that my mom agreed when I asked for it and bought it for me.

I also think DC and Marvel should have a free webcomic that ties in with their paid comics. Something like Marvel Team-up or the Brave and the Bold where they team up a popular character like Batman or Spider-Man with a lesser known character. I’m pretty sure the most popular webcomics get more hits than the monthly sales of Batman and Spider-Man. This would be a good way to get people hooked. Greed will probably prevent this from ever happening, though.

I’m really curious about Adam’s perspective on color! :)

All of these surveys confirm what I assumed from the solicits, that they aren’t necessarily starting points for new readers, the acquisition of whom was the stated purpose behind the whole initiative. Looking forward to next week’s reviews!

"O" the Humanatee!

September 19, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for doing this, Kelly – it’s very interesting.

What strikes me about the pattern of requests you describe is that it looks _roughly_ like people, or at least the people you contacted, are more interested in the most unfamiliar characters (with perhaps the added tweak that they don’t much like the military genre, which feels “right” to me somehow). The way I’d interpret that is, “I know who Superman is, and I know I’m not particularly interested,” and similarly for the titles starring Batman, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Catwoman, and perhaps the Teen Titans, which stars a Robin and a Superboy, whom novice readers may not realize (or care) are different from the ones they “grew up with.” Conceivably even Frankenstein might fall under this explanation, even if it’s “Frankenstein, Secret Agent.”

This seems to me almost the opposite of what DC would hope for, i.e., people being drawn in to see all the new! different! exciting! things the company is doing with its classic characters. Instead, people may be unwilling to dispense with their past experiences with and preconceptions about those characters. I could be wrong, but it seems to me DC’s marketing plan is based on drawing people in based on their curiosity about the classics and hoping they will then (once in the store, or after they’ve read Superman, Batman, etc.) branch out to less familiar fare.

I’d speculate that relative lack of interest in “I, Vampire” reflects “‘Twilight’ fatigue” or even a perceived cynicism on DC’s part about reaching out the “Twilight” demographic.

By contrast, novel characters about whom novice readers have no preconceived notions seem to garner the most curiosity: “Who’s Voodoo?” “Who’s Mr. Terrific” etc.

This is of course based on a small and unscientific sample, which may not reflect the general audience. The very fact that they didn’t have to spend any money or make any effort to buy the comics skews things right off the bat. (This is not a criticism, Kelly, just a qualification of my own interpretations. Maybe you should apply for a grant to do a larger study!)

I always find these fascinating and appreciate the work that you put into them.

@Kelly
That’s a pretty random breakdown of requests. The ones that had the most requests are not high profile characters…but have just enough name recognition to maybe garner a request or two (although Voodoo is totally crazy…your assumption of the beautiful woman/demon hand is probably a part of it for sure). After Aquaman and Swamp Thing it is sort of a mish-mash of obscure and not so obscure.
If it came down to the cover…the ones with the most requests did have interesting covers. Perhaps the more traditional covers were turning people off a little? I have no idea. I would never have guessed at that breakdown of requests at all.

Well, if no one else is going to call shenanigans on this heaping pile of yellow comic book “journalism” than I guess I will. First off…shocker…”friends, family and colleagues” that Kelly has been deriding DC to for the last six months agrees with Kelly! Did this first third batch of “test subjects” have a steady stream of tumblr, 3 Chicks pod casts and “She Has No Head” before taking part? Because every answer reeks of tumblr talking points.

All the angry SheHasNoHead/Tumblr talking points are met here…

“the idea that this medium can’t possibly hope to gain respect in the world if they don’t even respect themselves enough not to do crazy shit like this to their characters.”

Check.

“I just re-read my responses and they sound so negative that it made me feel a little bad.”

Hmmm. He must be adopted.

Next:

“it would take more than gimmicky costume changes and issue number reset to increase long-term sales*. “

Check. But I’m thinking that the “long term” thing was added in light of the whole 4th printing thing.

“why on earth would you reset Action Comics (#904) and Detective Comics (#881) when you’re so close to issue #1000? I still don’t understand that one.”

Righteous old time DC fan anger over numbering aesthetics instead of actual story and art? Check.

“But then, I excel at making sweeping judgments based on a limited sample size.”

This guy must be another relative. Next..

“WHAT WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE BOOK? I hated the ads. The page frame and background of the ads were the same as the story pages. Sometimes I would move to the ad like it was the next page. Of course, this would throw off my whole rhythm which made me lose interest mid-stream. The page borders should be a different color or use other fonts and illustration types. Maybe this is normal, but for someone who has never read a comic book, it makes no sense.
IS THE BOOK NEW READER FRIENDLY – I.E. IN YOUR OPINION DOES THE BOOK WORK FOR A NEW READER? No. See above.”

Wow. Ok. I don’t really have anything for this entry except a whole bunch of eye rolls. New readers will not like a comic because of ads. Just like people who watch television don’t like TV shows because of commercials. I’m not going to make the charge that this guy is parroting Kelly’s typical DC “Rabble, Rabble”. I’m just going to say this is an incredibly stupid statement and move on. Next…

“ My initial reaction was that it played like a stunt, but gradually my opinion changed after reading what some of the players were saying about the relaunch. Now, however, I am back to believing it’s a stunt.”

Check. Here we’re back on track with more typical anti reboot tumblrisms by supposedly oblivious fans who coincidentally, talk just like current pissed off DC fans, natch.

So…am I surprised by these responses? Having read a good chunk of the “New DCU 52? so far, in a word, No.

Yeah. The fact that you so carefully selected male versions of yourself (in one case literally) then no, I don’t think anyone on the planet would be surprised by these answers.

“It makes me nervous for the rest of the experiment, which for the most part, has reviewers with far less comics reading experience.”

I’m sure. God forbid someone actually like something that you’re on record as hating on principle more than actual content.

What is most mindboggling here is that you seem to think this is representative of a majority of opinion out there. I can go to this very site, TheBeat, BleedingCool, Comics Alliance, Newsrama and a variety of other places and scrape up quotes of lapsed readers and new readers who eat many of the new 52 up with a spoon. So in the end, what did you really prove here (people I know hate the same thing I hate! Yay!)? Nothing. This is probably the worst, most biased attempt at polling that I’ve seen on the blog-O-sphere to date. And that’s saying something. And I’m sure in light of all the fawning above that this post will be immediately deleted. But that matters as little as this horribly failed attempt at “objectivity”.

@Another Ian:

Edit to the “book requests breakdown”

Voodoo should read: “Voodoo had the most requests at 5 and TWO of those were first choice requests.”

Typo fun!

I agree with you that the requests seem odd. But I’ve been surprised by the comic choices every time I’ve done one of these projects. Only extraordinary kind of “above and beyond” covers have had pretty much EVERYONE request them universally (iZombie #5 springs to mind from the first Ladies Comics Project). Otherwise it’s a blend that quite frankly puzzles me. Then again, what is more subjective than art tastes, you know?

@RacerCanuck: Assuming you are not “John” (which is a massive leap) all I can say to you is that you don’t know a damn thing about me judging by everything you just wrote. You have created a person (villain, whatever) in your head that you’re ascribing things to that just in no way resembles me. Have a good time with your fiction.

RacerCanuck: boring

anyway, great post, Kelly!! i can’t wait to read the rest. i actually kinda wish i could have taken part in this, i feel like even though i’ve read my fair share of comics over the years that since i haven’t really read any DCU stuff and i’m often confused by monthly superhero books that i’d be a pretty good candidate for this. i was actually really interested in the relaunch stuff initially when i thought it was going to be a clean reboot, i was all set to read a bunch of books i never would’ve considered in a million years otherwise, but now that i’ve read some i’m sort of just more confused. i should’ve sent my parents your way, my Dad still digs Superman from when he was a kid, i wonder what he would’ve thought of the new Superman books.

it’s really interesting people seem to gravitate toward the new-ish characters or characters they’ve never heard of, i kinda feel the same way, like characters having been around in the public consciousness for a long time is actually an obstacle on some level. while somebody like Voodoo doesn’t appear to have the cultural/temporal baggage, i guess. seems like the monthly pamphlet format is also a stumbling block to some degree, like you’re either disappointed by a character not showing up until the last page or you’re confused because the writer has to cram so much shit into 20 pages, or it’s just not enough to grab people. maybe something like every other month there are 40-50 page installments instead, if not just graphic novel format stuff? i don’t know, that’s a whole other discussion, but as an infrequent/easily-lost monthly reader anything sounds more appealing than monthly 20 page snippets that while they can sometimes be cool mostly seem to me to end up warping the pacing of an otherwise good, well-structured story.

i think i like Doubting Thomas’s reaction the best. i hear ya, man, i’ve read comics on and off since i was a kid and i STILL get tripped up by some of the ads like that, thinking at first they’re another page of the comic. maybe i’m just dense, though.

i liked Andrew’s write-up, too, i felt the same way when i read that Aquaman thing, omg broken race with unspeakable need??? so cool. also, Andrew is hot.

Never read your work before and popped in due to the G+ Comics spark and the project idea caught my eye. I wasn’t initially interested in the New 52 thing (52 was much cooler, and I’m big Marvelite (Been reading since Stan Lee illustrated in a Soapbox the differences between his approach[Marvels] to DCs )), but then my local proprietor got me to add a title to my list. Heres the exchange:

“Want to add any 52 titles to go with all these Wolverine and Avengers?”
“Ehh. I’m still getting thru Blackest Night and I fell off of Detective Comics and Odyssey is over.
“Justice League 1 is out.”
“Hermmm. JL was always a good way to pile alot of DC into one book. Is it still janky plotlines?”
“Its complete restart. No one knows anyone yet, except in passing.”
“Sounds kinda iffy. My pull list is already like 15 deep.”
“Green Lantern hits Bats with a truck”
“WTF?!”
“Yep first meeting.”
“Add it.”

racercanuck:

I will agree with you on one point. Kelly and I are a lot alike in a lot of ways.

But I will make a few of my own points too. First, to call out someone in that way is pretty impulsive after only 4 data points have been revealed. It’s only a fifth of the data points ffs. Maybe we ought to ride this one out before questioning the objectivity? Whaddya say sport?

Second, sometimes people will disagree with your opinion…that’s ok. Sometimes they will also agree with someone else. Sometimes they are also right.

Third, what’s tumblr?

@Scott: Tumblr is a social network/blogging platform that’s like a cross between Facebook and Livejournal.

@Nick: i think Tumblr is more like Twitter in blog form.

stringofpearlsforkelly

September 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I just want to say Kelly how priceless it is that you and Sue now think that any and all criticisms leveled against you no matter how innocuous and genuine are penned by me. I am honored. The fact that you’re that paranoid pleases me greatly. Keep up the bad work you moron.

re” What is tumblr?”

Tumblr is where pretentious a-hole, perpetually marginalized comic book fem fan activism goes to die. It’s where I go to watch all the angry lezbo hypocrites.

stringofpearlsforkelly

September 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

PS.

Oh! Almost forgot. Sincerely…..John V.

PPS.

Hey kelly! Check out my new IP! I’m in Amsterdam! LMFAO! Love this new proxy server. Now I can’t ever be banned. Suck my balls CBR!!!

@”John” aka Grant Watson

I find it more hilarious that you’re so well known as a troll that you’ve had to buy a damn proxy server in order to be able comment on comics websites that have banned you. I’m pretty sure that’s the absolute definition of a loser.

I could delete your comment, but instead I think I’ll just let your rampant hate and irrational behavior help make my case about trolls and losers that are pathologically afraid of women and I’m sure a vast array of other things.

Of course if Brian wants to shut you down instead, that’s his call.

Kelly,

I think DC made a pretty huge mis-step here. In relaunching their entire universe, their stated goal was to make it more accessible for everyone (and obviously to bring in new readers). But in order to create that accessibility (especially for new readers), they really needed to either scrap all of the previous backstory and deliver the characters as brand new (somewhat similar to how they are introducing the Justice League’s origin) or give the new readers the necessary background info (e.g. some origin info).
I can understand DC not wanting to bog down these first issues with yet another origin retelling since that would turn off the long-time readers, but it definitely is creating a roadblock for the new readers.
I think what they should have done was create new 8 page origin stories for all of these books and make them available as a 0 issue. Put a free download code at the front of all of these first issues and tell people to go download/read the FREE 0 issue introduction. That would have given them the best of both worlds.
Instead, what they have now is confusion for a lot of the new readers and probably a lot of unhappy long time readers (who don’t like change).

Hmm… how many people who regularly read comics started with a #1? My first comic was a random issue of Batman or Spider-Man, and while I didn’t understand the intricacies of character/story straight away, I knew that after reading a few issues I’d pick things up as it went along.

For my money, the DC relaunchs biggest problem is that most of the comics are clearly rushed and/or sloppy. They did not bring their A game. The art – particularly in the first weeks batch – is mostly poor (with a few exceptions). Some of the writers have taken narrative shortcuts that don’t work (the usually reliable Cornell in Stormwatch, for example) or don’t seem to know exactly what it is they’re supposed to be doing. I read Legion Lost #1 last week and had no clue what was going on, who any of the characters were, their powers or what they were up to.

Maybe DC should have rebooted everything and yes, in some cases, tell the origins again (not really necessary for Batman or Supes). A lot of the comics refer to past events: it’s not exactly continuity-free, is it!? Take Batwoman: it’s clearly the second arc of a story. Green/Red Lantern? Batman & Robin? I’m not saying these were bad comics – in fact, I enjoyed all of ‘em to different degrees – but they are steeped on continuity. It’s not a reboot or a relaunch if you’ve just renumbered and continued the bloody story from #746 or whatever.

So far my favourite titles have been Animal Man, Action Comics, Swamp Thing and Frankenstein (a big surprise for me, picked it up purely on the basis of the creative team!). I’m guessing I’ll be adding Wonder Woman and Batman to that list as long as the creative teams stay attached.
I enjoyed and am willing to buy the next issue of Ressurrection Man, Detective Comics, and Stormwatch (I trust Cornell will deliver in future issues!) Mr Terrifc, Superboy and Batwing were all ok but I probably won’t pick up the next issues. Trade-waiting on Justice League and Batwoman, depending on reviews. Everything else was bad to terrible.

I really enjoyed Stormwatch #1, but I’ve read pretty much all of The Authority and so didn’t find myself too confused. As your reviewer above pointed out, I’m not sure the issue works as an introduction for those who aren’t familiar with the canon.

[…] and to Tara Abbamondi for a poetic illustration.  You can examination The Comics Project Part 1 here, and Part 2 […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives